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Energy Balance

Energy needs change throughout our lifecycle

We need to adjust our energy intake to meet our energy needs to remain in an energy balance


4 -year-old Child

Energy needs: ~90 calories/ kg body weight

- I’m growing!

- I have an increased need for energy (calories) to support my daily growth –

So I can get big and strong!"




35-year-old Sedentary Woman

Energy needs: 25-30 calories/kg body weight

- Most of my growing is done

- I don’t partake in much physical activity other than activities of the normal day

- I have less muscle mass than I did when I was young and participated in physical activities

- My energy requirements to stay functioning are not very high



35-year-old Physically Active Woman

Energy needs: proportionately increased due to fitness level

- I’m not getting taller anymore but I have extra energy requirements to support my active lifestyle

- I practice resistance training most days to build healthy lean muscle to help me feel strong

- I enjoy physical activity to keep my brain and body energized every day

- I get to enjoy most of the foods I love on a daily basis because my energy requirements are higher due to my increased activity levels




Energy requirements decrease as we age. When we are young our bodies are rapidly growing and there is an increased need for calories to help facilitate this growth. This is why it seems that children can simply eat whatever they want and never gain weight. As we age, our energy requirements decrease due to less muscle mass and a decreased metabolic rate- we simply aren’t creating as many new cells as we needed to when we were growing!


Outside of pregnancy and lactation, there really isn’t a time in our adult lifecycle for an increase in energy requirements.


To maintain a weight balance, we need to have a balanced energy equation. We should only consume what our bodies are burning daily. When we consume more energy than our body requires, our body will store the additional energy as fat. This causes a positive energy balance. When we consume less energy than our body requires we are creating a negative energy balance and our body needs to find a way to create that energy from our energy stores (fat stores).


So the math is simple. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change forms. Your energy in has to equal your energy out to stay in a balanced energy state. Eat more than you burn, you will gain weight. Eat less than you burn, you will lose weight.


Now let's take a typical 35-year-old woman of normal health. At this age, her resting energy expenditure (amount of energy required to keep her alive at a resting state) is about 1380 calories per day. If she wanted to lose weight, she would need to eat fewer calories than that in a day. Cutting 500 calories from her daily diet would equate to a one-pound fat loss in a week's time. Cutting 500 calories from 1380 would leave her to only consume 880 calories per day! Does that seem sustainable? Absolutely not! Will she lose weight, absolutely, but who can live like that? This is why normal diets don't work long-term. They are too restrictive.


What this woman needs to do in order to lose weight is to be more physically active and to build lean muscle mass. If she burns more calories in her day, she will create a negative balance and therefore lose weight.


There is simply no way to get around the fact that as an adult, you don’t require many calories to survive. In a modern world where we love to eat and are constantly bombarded with high-calorie, low-nutrient, delicious meals- the struggle is REAL! And for someone like me who loves to eat, I just need to absorb the fact that if I want to get to eat the foods I love and not wear my additional calories around my hips I need to MOVE MORE! I need to use my energy as energy! Use what you eat!


There is no secret to weight loss. No magical pills will do the work for you. You need to be the one to make the change. And if you are looking for someone to help you tailor this to your personal situation and help give you the motivation you need daily, you need to schedule your session with me. I am excited and eager to work with you 1-on-1 to help you figure out where you need help and how to guide you. I will work with you daily to motivate you to make the choices you need to make to be successful. When it gets hard, I will show you what to do next. We will do this together.




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